In today’s Hollywood Superhero movies are a dime a dozen. You can safely expect at least 2 of the 5 major summer tentpole movies (if not more) to be of the Superhero genre, and hey I’m not complaining.
Pre-CGI revolution and the gaming explosion of the 90′s this was not always the case, though it’s safe to say that cinema goer trends, along with general culture have now developed a taste for the ‘super’ since everybody can now safely revel in their love of all things nerdy without the fear of wedgies or getting referred to by Jocks as ‘Yo Nerdlinger!’.
Now superhero movies may be prolific, but a superhero movie and a faithful adaptation of said comic-book hero(es) are two entirely different things. The two aren’t on screen incompatible, but Hollywood has a tendency to repackage original comic book products and tweak them slightly in order to make them more palatable to a larger audience. Cinema representations of origin stories, character interpretations and ‘power sets’ are a treated a wee bit more liberally when it comes to how they’ll be viewed on the big screen by the newly ‘nerded’ public. Which is why Burton’s Batman had a very un-Batman-like gun packing Batmobile, Louis Leterrier’s Hulk couldn’t jump miles in a single bound and was mainly grounded, Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man had organic web-shooters and Marc Webb’s Peter Parker was less Amazing Spider-Man and more amazing emo douche-bag.
There’s been numerous other inconsistencies that were definitely for the worse perpetrated on certain fan beloved franchises; the X-Men movies are riddled with inconsistencies, the Spider-Man films and the Batman films whether they be Burton or Nolan give an entirely comic book inconsistent representation of Bat’s (which isn’t a bad thing), and despite Hugh Jackman’s best efforts, Wolverine is in need of some serious redemption after being softened up by Gavin Hood for the Kiddies, and let’s not even get started on how there’s now 2 radically different versions of Sabretooth.
But alas, we’re not here to gripe about the inconsistent. We’re here to look at adaptations that not only elated the cinema going public and critics, but silenced the ever moaning fan boys (like me) by being solid adaptations of the comics they were based on, while at the same time pulling off the double whammy as damn good films:
Mark Millars Kick-Ass, much like Wanted beforehand, was a pedestrianized look at Superheroes that took Stan Lee’s accessible ‘heroes with flaws’ mandate from the 60′s and applied it to the 21st century. And while films like Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 2 were undoubtedly the better example of a superhero movie, Matthew Vaughan’s Kick-Ass gives, for the first two acts at least, an almost direct translation of Millar’s comic book. And those two acts are captivating for the sheer ‘cringe factor’ involved in watching Kick-Ass’ Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson) put himself in deadly situations as a wannabe vigilante that can only end one way: badly, for him.
Enter pre-pubescent kill sensation Hitgirl (Chole Moretz) and Kick-Ass becomes a different movie. A more ‘social justice’ oriented, satisfying one. And while Dave is elevated ever so slightly from the loserdom that defined him in the comics, and the last act of the film is OTT action pornography that abandons the grimness of Dave’s life and a palpably conceivable blood bath in favor of something that’ll leave audiences with a s**t eating grin, the characters and indeed the plot of this film are more or less intact when the credits roll.
The soundtrack is also notable in it’s ability to give you ‘the rush’.